Volume 2, Issue 1 , February 1998

In this issue:

Busy Commission Season Begins
Social Development ,Population and Development ,Women
Ecosoc Decides 1998 Segment Themes
Government-Led Initiatives Needed for Forests Agenda
NGOs Committee Agrees on New Methods of Work
Forthcoming Meetings
Advisory Services
Census in the South Pacific , Of Gold and Women , Environmental Accounting ,State-Owned Enterprises
Just Published
Development Policy Analysis ,Population ,Natural Resources ,Statistics ,
Expert Meetings Held
Environment and Society ,Below Replacement Fertility ,Health and Mortality ,International Taxation ,Geographical Names

In the next three months, the functional commissions of the Economic and Social Council serviced byDESA will convene for their annual session. Their conclusions and recommendations will be transmitted to theCouncil for action at its summer meeting. Here is a rundown of themes and approaches, as every floor of DESApumps out documents and sweats through the deadlines.

Commission for Social Development
10-20 February 1998

Several innovations are planned for the 36th session of the Commission for Social Development whenit convenes next week in New York to discuss social integration.

The Commission has not been afraid to try new ways of doing things in its more than 50 years ofexistence. It has, indeed, survived as a forum and gained strength as a voice championing the social cause indevelopment by its ability to adapt and zero-in on the big issues and to provide the stage on which greatideological battles could be enacted. But it has been rather out of sight, in Vienna, for most of the years between1979 and 1993.

Now the Commission is back at Headquarters, enlarged, annualized and entrusted with the lead role inthe follow-up to the Copenhagen World Summit for Social Development.

So, what new can be expected from the session? First, we will try to liven-up the opening session onTuesday morning. The opening session usually has a large and distinguished audience, but, after the openingformalities, there is typically, a void -- no delegation is ready to speak. Last time, as an experiment, wescheduled Bengt Lindqvist, the Special Rapporteur on Disability, to present his report to the Commission at theopening session; his was a star performance. This time, we have invited representatives of governments witha particular interest in the follow-up of Copenhagen to make presentations. We hope that high-profilerepresentatives will be in attendance.

Next, we will try to beef-up the NGO segment. NGOs in consultative status have an assigned role in theCommission, but they typically make their statements at the tail-end of meetings, often to a rapidly emptyinghouse. For this session we have set aside two one-hour segments for NGOs; not only will they know well inadvance when they will be called on to speak, but -- and this is the novel element -- they will be exposed to cross-examination by government representatives.

We also tried something different when selecting candidates for the two workshops, in preparation forthe Commission, one on participation and social justice, the other on enhancing social protection and reducingvulnerability, which were held in the Fall. Traditionally, two experts were invited from each region; we decidedto weight our invitations to ensure greater developing country representation, by inviting three experts from eachdeveloping region and two each from the developed and the economies in transition regions.

Yet another innovation: we invited experts who had only limited past dealings with the UN. The result:new insights, some unexpected views; little in the way of rehashed UNese. Most of the experts had not met theothers, and they were most curious how they had been selected; how, indeed, did the UN know of theirexistence?

Social integration is the most difficult of the three core issues discussed at the Copenhagen Summit, partlybecause of its vast scope, partly because of the multiple interpretations to which it lends itself. This ambiguity,however, offers also several advantages: with views fluid and country positions not set in concrete, theCommission can engage in genuine debate and help shape opinion. We hope that some good ideas will emergefrom the discussions of participation and the more novel concept of vulnerability. We also look forward to thetwo Panel sessions on these topics; some interesting panellists have been invited.

For the segment on violence, crime and illicit substance abuse as factors of social disintegration, the newhead of the Vienna based UN drug control and crime prevention programme, Mr Pino Arlacchi, will be inattendance to make a presentation. Finally, the Commission will review preparations for the International Yearof Older Persons (1999).

Andrzej Krassowski

The website for Social Development can be accessed at: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev

Contact: Mr. Andrzej Krassowski, Division for Social Policy Development
Tel. (212) 963-6901, Fax. (212) 963-3062, E-mail: krassowski@un.org

Commission on Population and Development
23-27 February 1998

The thirty-first session of the Commission on Population and Development will be meeting from 23-27February 1998 in New York. In resolution 49/128, the General Assembly gave the Commission, as a functionalorgan of the Economic and Social Council, the responsibility for monitoring, reviewing and assessing theimplementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Developmentadopted in Cairo in 1994. The Commission is also responsible for reviewing the work programme of theDivision, which has served as its substantive secretariat since its inception in 1946.

The work of the Commission is structured according to a five-year cycle, with each annual sessionconcentrating on a special theme corresponding to chapters of the Programme of Action. The theme of thissession is health and mortality, with special emphasis on the linkages between health and development, andgender and age.

The primary substantive document before the Commission will be the world population monitoring reportfocussing on this theme. The report, prepared by the Division, covers selected aspects of the topic, includinglevels and trends of mortality, child survival and health, women's health and safe motherhood, HIV/AIDS,primary health care, mortality and health policies, and issues related to health and development. Among otherreports to be considered will be those on the monitoring of population programmes, activities of the ACC TaskForce on Basic Social Services for All, flows of financial resources, progress in implementation of the workprogramme of the Division, and its work programme for 1998-1999.

Among other issues to be considered will be planning for the quinquennial review and appraisal of theICPD Programme of Action and progress on the technical symposium on international migration anddevelopment.

Larry Heligman

Contact: Larry Heligman, Tel. (212) 963-3208, Fax. (212) 963-2147, E-mail: heligman@un.org The documents of the Commission are available online at: http://www.undp.org/popin/popin.htm

Commission on the Status of Women
2-13 March 1998

The forty-second session of the Commission on the Status of Women will have as its central focus areview of four of the twelve critical areas of concern identified in the Beijing Platform for Action. The areasunder review are those deeply concerned with the human rights of women: violence against women, women andarmed conflict, human rights of women and the girl-child. The Commission will be assisted in its review of theseareas by four panels, comprising representatives of Governments, the United Nations system and civil society,which will seek to assess progress made in these sectors to translate the required actions identified in the Platformfrom rhetoric into reality. Alongside the Commission's session, panels and discussions relating to these criticalareas will be hosted by NGOs. In addition, the Commission itself is expected to devote part of one of itsmeetings to a discussion of the Declaration. During the Commission, also, the open-ended working group onthe preparation of an optional protocol to CEDAW will continue its deliberations, inspired by thecommemoration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Ecosoc Decides 1998 Segment Themes

The Economic and Social Council concluded its resumed substantive session in December 1997 with thefollowing agreement on themes for the high-level, coordination, and operational activities segments of itssubstantive session in July 1998:

High-level segment : Market access: developments since the Uruguay round; implications, opportunities andchallenges in the context of globalization and liberalization, with particular emphasis on the developing countries,including the least-developed;

Coordination segment : Follow-up and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action;

Operational activities segment : Advancement of women: implementation of the Beijing Conference Platformfor Action and the role of operational activities for enhancing the participation of women in development, inparticular capacity building and resource mobilization;

The consensus on the high-level segment theme was reached with considerable difficulty. Given thecomplexity of the theme itself and the tenuous nature of the consensus, the preparation of the Secretary-General'sreport will require particular care and attention, as well as the active involvement of UNCTAD and WTO.

In a related action the Council appointed last week its 1998 Bureau: H.E. Mr. Juan Somav¡a of Chile willpreside, assisted by Ambassadors Fulci (Italy), Chowdhury (Bangladesh), Olhaye (Djibouti) and Sychou (Belarus)as Vice-Presidents.

Sarbuland Khan

The Economic and Social Development website can be accessed at: http://www.un.org/esa
Contact: Sarbuland Khan at: Tel. (212) 963-4628, Fax. (212) 963-5935, E-mail: khan2@un.org

Government-Led Initiatives Needed for Forests Agenda

During the period of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) between 1995 and 1997, a total of 11Government Led Initiatives (GLI) were carried out in support of the Panel's work. Although in the beginningthese initiatives were viewed with some concern, especially by some developing countries, it became clear duringthe IPF process that they contributed significantly to reach consensus on the conclusions as well as the many andvaried proposals for action.

The change in attitude towards the contribution of GLIs is attributed to the way these activities wereplanned and conducted. In many cases new meaningful North-South partnerships were forged and steeringcommittees made sure that the processes were transparent; invitations were issued to all relevant stakeholdersand measures undertaken to facilitate the participation of all interested countries and major groups.

It is clear that GLIs are as crucial an element of the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF) processas they were for the IPF, although the IFF process focusses on fewer issues and extends over a longer period(1997-2000).

During the first session of the IFF, 1-3 October 1997, only a few GLIs were announced, including oneon forest research co-sponsored by Austria and Indonesia, and one on underlying causes of deforestation to beorganized by NGOs and hosted by the Government of Costa Rica. In addition, the Government of Germany hasrecently announced that it will host and co-sponsor, together with Finland, Honduras, Indonesia, Uganda, andthe UK, an expert meeting on operationalization for IPF's proposals for action at the national level.

While the GLIs announced so far are very significant to the IFF programme of work, there are still manyother areas that need GLI support to enable the IFF to complete its work by early 2000 to promote moreinitiatives. The Co-Chairmen of the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests, Ambassador Bagher Asadi of Iran,and Ambassador Ilkka Ristimaki of Finland, held an informal, informal consultation with governmentrepresentatives on preparations for IFF II in New York on 30 January 1998. Prior to the meeting, an informationkit had been distributed to regional groups by the Co-Chairmen in order to provide an opportunity for missionsto consult with their capitals.

At the meeting, Austria, Costa Rica, Indonesia, and Germany reported on on-going initiatives. Costa Ricaalso announced its willingness to organize an expert meeting on Category III of the IFF's programme of work.A few countries announced that they were considering other initiatives. Some countries are also willing to makecontributions to the IFF Trust Fund, including the cost of travel of participants from developing countries. Itis clear, however, that initiatives need to be expanded if they are to adequately support the IFF's programme ofwork. Further informal consultations before IFF II in August are under consideration.

Tage Michaelsen

Contact: Tage Michaelsen, IFF Secretariat, Tel. (212) 963-5294, Fax. (212) 963-3463, E-mail:michaelsen@un.org

Non-Governmental Organizations

The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations met at Headquarters from 12 to 23 January tocomplete the work left unfinished at its 1997 May/June session and to consider the question of the enlargementof the Committee and issues related to its methods of work.

The Committee examined its methods of work first. Moved by the will to process efficiently thespiralling number of applications from non-governmental organizations applying for consultative status with theEconomic and Social Council (150 in 1997, 300 in 1998 and possibly between 500 and 600 in 1999), it reachedconsensus on new working procedures with the Secretariat.

There was a lively exchange of views on two important issues, namely special review procedures, anda code of ethics focussing essentially on responsibilities of non-governmental organizations on accreditation,several delegations were concerned about a number of incidents that had taken place during meetings held at theUnited Nations office at Geneva. They want non-governmental organizations held responsible and accountablefor their representatives. The discussion on this issue will resume at the regular meeting of the Committee, tobe held in May (18-29) and June (22-26) in New York. The enlargement of the Committee will not be discussedbefore 2000.

For further information, contact: Michelle Fedoroff, Tel. (212) 963-8484, Fax. (212) 963-3892, E-mail:fedoroff@un.org

Forthcoming Meetings

A comprehensive list of forthcoming meetings can be accessed online by keying http://imdis.un.org atthe location box of the United Nations web page and then clicking on "Journal of Meetings".

Below is a list of the current meetings with DESA participation:

Consultative Meeting among Regional Institutions
New York, 4-6 February 1998

The Division for Sustainable Development is holding a Consultative Meeting bringing together bothUnited Nations and non-UN regional institutions to discuss: (a) possible modalities for planned exchanges ofnational experiences and the role of regional institutions; (b) how the respective regional priorities related to the1998-2002 CSD work programme; and major trends and innovative practices in regional cooperation in selectedareas. This meeting is intended to set the framework for a series of meetings at the regional level and to promotefurther regional implementation of Agenda 21.

Contact: Ms. Hiroko Morita-Lou, Tel. (212) 963-8813, Fax. (212) 963-1267, E-mail: morita-lou@un.org


Statistical Commission Working Group on International Statistical Programmes and Coordination
nineteenth session
New York, 10-13 February 1998

The meeting will cover critical problems in economic statistics, statistical implications of the follow-upto recent major United Nations conferences, technical cooperation in statistics, information on the statisticalactivities of international organizations and role and functioning of the Statistical Commission.

The United Nations Statistics Division will service the meeting. Documents have been prepared by theUNSD, various inter-agency task forces, and ad hoc groups composed of countries and agencies.

The papers of the meeting are available on the DESA/DESIPA LAN U:\ drive.

For further details, please contact: Richard Roberts, Statistics Division, Tel. (212) 963-6037, Fax. (212)963-9851, E-mail: roberts@un.org


Commission for Social Development
thirty-sixth session
New York, 10-20 February 1998

See article above.


Meeting of States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination againstWomen
tenth meeting
New York, 17 February 1998

This meeting will elect 12 experts to serve four-year terms of the Committee on the Elimination ofDiscrimination against Women, beginning 1 January 1999. The Committee is the monitoring body of theConvention.

Contact: Jane Connors, Division for the Advancement of Women, Tel. (212) 963-3162, Fax. (212) 963-3463, E-mail: connorsj@un.org


Commission on Population and Development
thirty-first session
New York, 23-27 February 1998

See article above.


Commission on Sustainable Development - Ad Hoc Inter-Sessional WorkingGroup
on Strategic Approaches to Freshwater Management

New York, 23-27 February 1998

Governments will take up the recommendations of the Expert Group Meeting on Strategic Approachesto Freshwater Management (See DESA News, Vol.1, No.2), which concluded last week in Harare. Therecommendations could form the basis of a global initiative to conserve and protect freshwater.

The Harare meeting was the first in a series set for the next few months to address the world's growingwater crisis, leading up to talks at the sixth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development. One ofthe expert group's recommendations is that governments establish national water policies to ensure efficient andequitable allocation of freshwater for health, basic human needs and food security.

After the Inter-sessional, Governments will seek to build consensus at a ministerial-level InternationalConference on Water and Sustainable Development , to be held in Paris from 19-21 March, sponsored by theFrench Government. It is hoped that elements of an international initiative can be agreed upon at theCommission's session, which runs from 20 April-1 May, in New York.

Contact: Pierre Najlis, Tel (212) 963-4800, Fax. (212) 963-1795, E-mail: najlis@un.org


Meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the Second Tokyo International Conference on African Development(TICAD II)
Senegal, 2-3 March 1998

The task of the Preparatory Committee of 21 members that was constituted at the Preparatory Conferencein Tokyo in November 1997 is to formulate the "agenda for action" for adoption at the Second TokyoInternational Conference, which is scheduled to take place from 19 - 21 October 1998. It has been agreed thatTICAD II should focus on the following priority areas: social development, private sector development,agriculture and environment, governance and conflict management, and peace and development. The modalitiesof cooperation agreed upon are capacity-building, regional cooperation, South-South cooperation and donorcoordination. OSCAL will participate as co-organizer in providing substantive support to the PreparatoryCommittee.

Contact: Makha Sarr, Special Coordinator for Africa and the Least Developed Countries, Tel. (212) 963-5084, Fax. (212) 963-3892, E-mail: sarr@un.org or Kimiko Uno, Tel. (212) 963-2166, Fax. (212) 963-3892,E-mail: uno@un.org or Leslie Wade, Tel. (212) 963-4420, Fax. (212) 963-3892, E-mail: wade@un.org


Workshop on Measuring Changes in Consumption and Production Patterns
New York, 2-3 March 1998.

The objective of this workshop is to discuss a preliminary core set of indicators for chapter 4 of Agenda21, which falls under one of the elements of the International Work Programme on Changing Consumption andProduction Patterns. A background paper is being prepared, outlining key issues and proposing a preliminarycore set, based on consultations with key players from a wide range of countries and organizations.

The results of the exercise will be fed into the Work Programme of Indicators of Sustainable Developmentof the Commission on Sustainable Development.

Contact: Catherine Rubbens, Division for Sustainable Development, Tel. (212) 963-5243, Fax. (212) 963-4260, E-mail: rubbens@un.org.


Commission on Sustainable Development - Ad Hoc Inter-Sessional Working Group on Industry and SustainableDevelopment

New York, 2-3 March 1998

CSD will be preceeded by an Ad Hoc Inter-sessional Working Group, 23 February-6 March, to reviewand discuss the report of the Secretary-General on industry and sustainable development. The report will providebroad consideration of the role of industry and analyze linkages with the relevant chapters of Agenda 21. It willseek to highlight the linkages between industry and economic and social development and environmentalprotection, and examine the policy challenges facing national government and the international community. TheGroup will also identify unresolved issues on industry which will need to be discussed in greater detail at CSD6.


Commission on the Status of Women, Working Group on the Elaboration of a Draft Optional Protocol to theConvention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
New York, 2-13 March 1998


Committee on Natural Resources
fourth session
New York, 10-19 March 1998


Ad Hoc Expert Group Meeting on Short- and Medium-term Prospects of the World Economy (Project LINK)
New York, 16-19 March 1998

Some 150 economists from 60 countries and 9 international organizations are expected to participate inthis meeting, which will be serviced by the Projections and Perspective Studies Branch of the DevelopmentPolicy Analysis Division. The topics of discussion will be the outlook of the world economy, the Asian Crisis,EMU and the Outlook and commodity prices and development.

Contact: Anatoly Smyshlyaev, Development Policy Analysis Division. Tel. (212) 963 4687, Fax (212) 9631061. E-mail: Smyshlyaev@un.org.


General Assembly - Economic and Financial Committee
resumed session
New York, 19-20 March 1998


Committee on New and Renewable Sources of Energy and on Energy for Development
third session
New York, 23 March-3 April 1998


Commission on Sustainable Development
sixth session
New York, 20 April-1 May 1998

An article on CSD will appear in our next issue.

Advisory Services

Census in the South Pacific

The Statistics Division organized and conducted in cooperation with ESCAP and the South PacificCommission (SPC), a seminar on Population and Housing Censuses for small island states in the South Pacificfrom 8 to 12 December 1997 in Fiji. 18 countries attended . The funding and the administrative and logisticsupport for the seminar was provided by UNFPA. The seminar was designed as a decision making seminarrather than a training seminar. The objectives of the seminar were to:

  • establish networks between the countries of the region so that common problems related to census taking could be solved within the region and in a better cost-effective way,
  • agree on common questions that could be used by all countries in the 2000 round census, and
  • determine if it was possible to develop a common data processing approach.
All three objectives were met. With respect to the first it became clear that as a result of the seminar agreater degree of networking existed after the seminar than before. The South Pacific Commission has agreedto develop a roster of regional experts in data processing and other census related fields and to provide this listto the countries. Countries with more expertise available have agreed to provide the services of their experts onrequest of other countries in the region, subject to the provision of transportation and living expenses. The SPChas agreed to coordinate and promote these efforts. There was a discussion on the possibility of establishing aweb page and an e-mail system to improve the communication among the countries.

In addition, the countries agreed for the first time to adopt a common set of questions relating to housing,basic demographic characteristics, residence, education, migration, fertility, mortality, employment,unemployment, and other economic characteristics.

All countries indicated that they would like to use one specific common software package for dataprocessing. This product is designed for use on microcomputers and is currently used by the 75% of thecountries in the world. The Statistics Division has agreed to work with the countries and the U.S. Bureau of theCensus, the developer and provider of the software, in organizing training courses in the region.

Sam Suhartoh
Contact: Mr. Sam Suharto, Statistics Division, Tel. (212) 963-8493, Fax. (212) 963-1940, E-mail:suharto@un.org

Of Gold and Women

DESA is integrating three cultures, analytical, normative and technical cooperation. In sharing with youmy experience of one day in the field during a recent mission to Mali, I may modestly contribute to facilitatingthis integration process. This short article could either be titled "A woman's work is never finished" or "Gendermainstreaming", or even "Spice Girls", depending on the perspective. The choice is yours!

My UNDP colleague Aida, and I spent a very inspiring day interviewing the representatives of thewomen's association of Kangaba in the Malinke country, South West of Bamako, near the Guinean border. Wewanted to check some social parameters with a view to defining a bottom-up, participatory poverty eradicationstrategy (all the latest development buzzwords!) as part of a project around the gold mining centres, likeKangaba. We knew that women were involved in gold digging alongside the men, but Malinke tradition requiresthat they surrender their gold to their husbands. Experience also indicates that the money is rarely reinvestedinto something productive or valuable for the community. Because of this, one of the project's objectives is todevelop mechanisms to increase the earnings over which women have full control.

The Kangaba community has traditionally mined gold with primitive tools. Like many West Africancountries, Mali is a gold producer, and artisanal gold mining has been going on for many centuries. Currently,some one million Malians, about 10% of the population live off this activity, which annually produces more thanthree tonnes of gold. When we arrived at the "orpaillage" or gold digging site after driving a couple of hourson a dirt road, we were greeted by the Chief of the village. This gentleman was surrounded by some membersof his community. The men were idle, their agricultural chores were finished, and the dry season which isdedicated to "orpaillage" had not started yet. However, the tradition allows the women "orpailleuses" to"moonlight" for pocket money so to speak during the inter-season. Some of them were already busy panninggold using large calabashes, up to their knees in holes filled with yellow muddy water. Aida was asking thequestions in Malinke to the illiterate people. No small feat, since the construction of the language is very remotefrom that of French. The Chief agreed to her request to have the head of the Women's Association interviewed. The men sat behind the women who accompanied her, but never interfered with the interview.

Only the more senior women spoke and they explained that now they were only recovering meager goldleft over from prior campaigns and that they keep the money from the sale. With their earnings they wouldmainly buy spices and herbs to improve the family diet. If they were lucky, the extra money would buy clothesfor the children, some medicine or even the colourful cloth for their wrap-around skirt. They emphasized theirconcerns for the older women who could no longer pan but still needed income to make ends meet. It was apriority to help them cultivate small agricultural plots near their homes, so that they could fulfill theirresponsibility to the community, including looking after the children of the able bodied "orpailleuses". Thewomen added that they needed improved tools to better manage water to develop small vegetable plots to sellthe produce in the local market. They also had to generate money to hire a midwife for the village. For thesewomen, improved earnings obviously translated into better health for the members of the community.

Our challenge is now to translate this knowledge into a community-based project which will improve ina sustainable manner the welfare of the Kangaba community.

Béatrice Labonne

Contact: Béatrice Labonne, Tel. (212) 963-8790, Fax. (212) 963-4340, E-mail: labonne@un.org

A national seminar on the results and policy uses of environmental accounting was held in Manila,Philippines from 15 to 16 January 1998. The seminar discussed the results of an integrated environmental andeconomic accounting project, supported financially by UNDP and technically by the United Nations StatisticsDivision (UNSD).

The Chinese Authorities in charge of State-Owned Enterprises reform have requested assistance inproviding "best practices" and country experiences on the establishment and management of shareholdingenterprises as one way to reform the State-Owned Enterprises. In response to this request, a resource paper foruse at the back-to-back workshops scheduled for mid-1998 is being prepared.

Just Published


The World Economy at the beginning of 1998

The World Economy at the beginning of 1998, released to the press in advance, unedited version inDecember, has just been issued as an ECOSOC document in all six languages (E/1998/INF/1). It is a documentof the Organizational session of ECOSOC held from 3 to 6 February 1998 and was the basis for a briefing fordelegations and the United Nations community by Mr. Desai on 22 January 1998. The report reviews thecurrent economic situation and outlook in the world's major regions and in international trade and finance. Itdecries an international system that demands austerity for a return to financial market confidence. In thediscussion following Mr. Desai's presentation, a number of comments and questions were put on the situationin East Asia as a result of the economic crisis faced by some countries in that region.

Contact: Barry Herman, Development Policy Analysis Division, Tel. (212) 963-4747, Fax (212) 963-1061, E-mail: herman@un.org. The advance English version of the report can be accessed on-line athttp://www.un.org/esa.


World population projections to 2150

The Population Division has just issued long-range population projections 1950 to 2150. The Divisionprepares biennially the official United Nations population estimates and projections for countries, urban and ruralareas, and major cities for all countries and areas of the world. The latest revision, World Population Prospects:The 1996 Revision, refers to the period 1950-2050. Realization of the full consequences of changes in fertilityand mortality on population growth requires a longer time frame. Therefore, periodically the PopulationDivision prepares population projections for an extended time horizon, in this case to 2150.

A total of seven projections for each of the eight major areas of the world are considered in this report. Thevariants are distinguished by their assumptions regarding future scenarios in total fertility rates. The range ofpotential demographic outcomes underscores the difficulty in focusing on any particular scenario and alsohighlights the critical importance of current policies and actions for the long-range future of the worldpopulation.

One of its seven main conclusions is that according to the medium-fertility scenario, which assumesfertility will stabilize at replacement levels of slightly above two children per woman , the world population willgrow from 5.7 billion persons in 1995 to 9.4 billion in 2050, 10.4 billion in 2100, and 10.8 billion by 2150, andwill stabilize at slightly under 11 billion persons around 2200.

Contact: Joseph Grinblat, Population Division, Tel. (212) 963-3216, Fax. (212) 963-2147, E-mail:grinblat@un.org


Following an ad-hoc meeting of a group of experts on legislation for surveying and mapping held atHeadquarters on 6 June 1997 under the auspices of the former DDSMS, a Report of the Meeting has just beenissued (DDSMS/SEM.97/2). The report, in addition to including the four background technical paperscommissioned by the Department, presents a summary of the salient aspects of the deliberations and a set ofrecommendations for the benefit for specialized government agencies and users of cadastral products.

Volume I, Report of the Conference of the Sixth United Nations Regional Cartographic Conferencefor the Americas held at Headquarters from 2 to 6 June 1997, has recently been issued (sales no. E.98.I.5).The Conference, an event taking place every four years, was organized by the former DDSMS as part of itsnormative activities and held in accordance with ECOSOC decision 1993/225. The Report was issuedsimultaneously in English, Spanish and French. Volume II, Technical Papers, a compilation of more than 50technical documents submitted by member states, is currently being edited for publication and release in the nextfew months.

Contact: Mr. Gabriel Gabella, Tel. (212) 963-3101, E-mail: gabella@un.org


Monthly Bulletin of Statistics and MBS on-line (ST/ESA/STAT/SER.Q/299Vol.LI - No. 11) - November 1997

The Bulletin provides monthly statistics on 60 subjects from over 200 countries and territories, togetherwith special tables illustrating important economic developments. Quarterly data for significant world andregional aggregates are included regularly.

Contact: Gloria Cuaycong, Statistics Division, Tel: (212) 963-4865, Fax: (212) 963-0623, E-mail:cuaycong@un.org

System of National Accounts 1993 (ST/ESA/STAT/SER.F/2/REV.4)
French, Sales No. F.94.XVII.4

This is the French translation of the 1993 version of the System of National Accounts. It sets out thebasic methodological principles underlying the System for the systematic and integrated recording of the flowsand stocks of an economy in order to provide an accurate overall view of the economy. Explained and illustratedin detail are all the internationally agreed concepts, definitions, conventions, classifications and accounting rulesused in the SNA accounts and tables.

Contact: Stefan Schweinfest, Statistics Division, Tel. (212) 963-4849, Fax: (212) 963-1374,E-mail:schweinfest@un.org

Manual for the Development of Statistical Information for Disability Programmes and Policies (ST/ESA/STAT/SER.Y/8)
French, Sales No. F.96.XVII.4

This authoritative manual supports a more systematic approach to data collection and development ofstatistical information related to disability. It has been prepared for programme managers and others concernedwith production and use of statistical information for implementing, monitoring and evaluating disability policiesand programs.

Contact: Margaret Mbogoni, Statistics Division,Tel: (212) 963-7845, Fax: (212) 963-1940, E-mail:mbogoni@un.org

Expert Meetings Held

Environment and Society Conference

An international Conference on Environment and Society: Education and Public Awareness forSustainability, was organized by UNESCO and hosted by the Government of Greece in Thessaloniki from 8 to12 December 1997. The Conference was a major intersessional event in preparation for the consideration of thetheme of education and public awareness (Chapter 36 of Agenda 21) by the Commission on SustainableDevelopment at its sixth session in April 1998. It brought together many practitioners and NGOs to share theirexperiences. The Thessaloniki Conference, through its declaration, panels and innovative cases presented, hasshown how education and public awareness can be an essential means to change behaviours and lifestyles towardssustainability. It also stressed the importance of involving not only the educational community but alsoGovernments, Major Groups including NGOs, financial institutions and other key actors in reorienting educationto have a holistic, interdisciplinary approach to sustainable development.

Contact: Hiroko Morita-Lou, Division for Sustainable Development at Tel.(212) 963-8813, Fax. (212)963-1267, E-mail: morita-lou@un.org or Federica Pietracci, Tel. (212) 963-8487, Fax. (212) 963-1267, E-mail:pietracci@un.org


Expert Group Meeting on Below Replacement Fertility

Historically, national populations have replaced themselves. Each couple has had at least 2 children sothat one generation begot the next generation. However, during the last decade, a new population issue has beenevolving, in more and more countries, first in European and other developed countries and lately extending tothe developing countries, particularly in Eastern and Southeastern Asia. Couples in more and more countriesare having, on average, fewer births than are necessary for generations to replace themselves.

In response to these new and urgent issues, the Population Division organized the Expert Group Meetingon Below Replacement Fertility, from 4-6 November 1997. The purpose of the meeting was to obtain the adviceof experts on how fertility levels may evolve in those countries which are already exhibiting fertility belowreplacement. Will they remain below replacement? Will fertility rates rise back towards or to replacement?

The experts concluded that there might be two, if not three, different fertility transitions taking placesimultaneously. First, there is the classical transition, which can be seen as a modernization process in responseto profound socio-economic change. This has been completed in Western and Northern Europe and in Europeanoverseas populations but is still in progress in many parts of the world. Meanwhile, a second transition beganin the 1960s in Europe and Northern America and quickly spread elsewhere. This change was probablyprecipitated by the advent of modern methods of contraception, which made it possible to separate sex fromreproduction. Individual autonomy is emphasized, while women have the opportunity to work, employment isincompatible with raising a family, and fertility is very low.

The possibility of a third transition is intriguing. If the variety of roles women play can be harmonized,couples may be able to have the children they say they would like to have, with a consequent rise in fertility. A positive association between fertility and such factors as education and economic success could emerge. Adjustment in men's roles is implied as well. Moreover, the necessary social conditions would have to becreated through public policy and at a considerable financial cost. Therefore, prosperous times would be anadvantage. Sweden stands out as an example where such a third transition may be occurring.

A fuller account of the meeting can be obtained from Mr. Larry Heligman, Tel. (212) 963-3208, Fax.(212) 963-2147, E-mail: heligman@un.org


Symposium on Health and Mortality

The Population Division in collaboration with the Population and Family Study Centre of Flanders,organized a Symposium on Health and Mortality that took place in Brussels, Belgium, from 19 to 22 November1997.

The Symposium was to focus attention on issues related to the health and mortality of persons aged 15or over. The sessions were organized along three major issues: (a) measurement; (b) current knowledge of thephenomenon in developed market-economy economies, economies in transition, and developing countries; and (c) analysis of risk factors associated with specific behaviours. To set the framework in which to address theseissues, the Symposium considered the meaning and relevance of the mortality, epidemiological and healthtransitions. The proceedings are set to be published. The unedited papers will be issued in the Working Paperseries of the Population Division.

For a fuller account of the meeting, contact: Hania Zlotnik, Tel. (212) 963-3185, Fax: (212) 963-2147,E-mail: zlotnik@un.org


International Cooperation in Tax Matters

The Ad Hoc Group of Experts on International Cooperation in tax matters met in Geneva to considertax havens, new financial instruments, transfer pricing and update of the United Nations Model Double TaxationConvention between Developed and Developing Countries and the Manual for the Negotiation of Bilateral Taxtreaties between Developed and Developing Countries. The question of imparting training in internationaltaxation to tax administrators in developing countries and countries with economies in transition was discussed. A proposal to hold six workshops in Abidjan, Accra, Buenos Aires, Kuala Lumpur, Moscow and New Delhi wasapproved subject to satisfactory financial arrangements.


Geographical Names

The Seventh United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names, (See DESANews, Vol.1, No.2) concluded its 10-day meeting in January after adopting 15 resolutions. A total of 184representatives and observers from 64 countries attended the Conference, where 134 papers were presented.

The Conference was informed of the spectacular development and possibilities opened up by the Internet. Many countries are already using this medium for communication, information and exchange of data (gazetteers,databases, toponymic guidelines, training material) at different levels of accessibility. The use of this technologywill be encouraged by a new data exchange format and standard adopted at the Conference for international use.

A publication, Country Names, listing the official endonymic forms of their names, as well as the namesin English, French and Spanish, was tabled at the Conference. This publication will serve as a necessaryreference work to show the correct written form of names of 193 countries.

The Conference was organized and serviced by the Statistics Division.